Read our interview with Gangadharan, a 2017 winner of the RISE scholarship, and learn how you can apply for this year’s award!
Applications are now being accepted for scholarships offered through the Security Industry Association’s (SIA’s) RISE program. The SIA RISE scholarship provides young security professionals with funds for professional development courses and/or academic programs. Learn how you can apply for one of 10 $3,000 scholarships here!
SIA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Anvesh Gangadharan: I’m a 24-year-old design engineer living in Bangalore, India. I enjoy dabbling in a lot of fields of interest and look for new things to learn, especially new technologies, to see how they could be used to help society. I enjoy sketching and writing short stories whenever I had time to spare. I grew up in Botswana, where I gained a passion for wildlife and biology which, in turn, grew into an interest in biomimicry. I look to nature for inspirations and ideas often.
SIA: What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?
AG: I am not sure if I can pinpoint it to a specific day or event, but growing up I saw lots of padlocks, key blockers and steering wheel locks. I used to call the steering wheel lock a gorilla lock (I got to know later it was known as The Club in the United States) since I couldn’t open it. I would occasionally try picking them using pins without much luck, but it was still fascinating. Once I got into college, dormmates would keep asking me to open their room doors whenever they forgot their keys.
Now that I think of it, there was one incident when I was in school back in Botswana. My classmates and I had managed to get ourselves locked into a classroom, and we did not have a way of getting out. It was a free period, and the teacher would not be back for at least 20 minutes. It was in the middle of summer, so the heat did not make things comfortable for us. Fortunately, we had a plan. We would use our mathematical instruments (dividers and compasses) to remove the screws and see if we could pull the latch. Although we did manage to get the escutcheon off, there was a spindle in the door. At the time, we did not know this was a vital part of the lock, and we took it out of the door to see what was inside. We still were not able to unlock the door, though. Lucky – or unlucky – for us, the teacher came to find the door jammed. At the end of the day, the door had to be broken down. This was certainly one of the reasons I got interested in safety and security.
SIA: What has your career path been?
AG: I started my career when I was in college as a marketing executive for a startup that dealt in the selling of second machines and scrap material. I continued this for four months before I came across an advertisement for an internship at Allegion. I joined as an intern and worked for five months before being offered the position of a design engineer at the Allegion Bangalore office, where I have been working since. The award has helped me understand my interests in more detail, giving me more clarity on what is required to achieve my goals. It has allowed me to join courses to develop new skills, helping me grow as a professional and as a person.
SIA: Who has influenced you or mentored you – either within the security field or outside?
AG: I have been fortunate to work with amazing people who have mentored me and influenced my thinking process. Vijaykumar Mani, my current supervisor and manager, has been a great mentor, guiding me with my career path and technical knowhow. Sushanth Kondi Anand Rao, my previous manager, encouraged me to be curious about the unknown and find out new technology that could be used, be it soon or 10-20 years into the future! Subashchandra Rai and Sean Moening were my mentors during my internship and afterwards as well. They helped me in understanding a great deal about the lock industry and ideas for the future and introduced me to the world of bicycles.
My parents have had a lot of influence on my decisions and supported me in all my tough times. Without them, I would not have even come close to where I am now. Two people I’ve looked up to in a sense are Leonardo da Vinci and Elon Musk. Their ability to learn new topics and fields of interests has always astounded me, and their resilience has been a characteristic that I would love to emulate.
SIA: What’s something most people don’t know about you?
AG: I have a stamp collection, and I am an avid nature lover. Most people don’t know that I’m preparing to run in a marathon; I ran my first 10K recently, and I’m looking forward to running more.
SIA: What do you enjoy most about being at your company – and in the security industry?
AG: That the products I design will be used to help save lives and allow people to sleep peacefully.
SIA: How has RISE helped you in your career thus far?
AG: The RISE scholarship has helped me a great deal in improving myself and given me direction and the motivation to achieve my goals. RISE has helped me reach out to a network of people I would have not otherwise been able to. It has helped me understand my potential and provided me with opportunities to grow.
SIA: What do you think you need to enhance your career?
AG: I believe learning how to build long-lasting relationships would be a key factor. Along with this, a few business-oriented skills (e.g., analytics, business models) and some more technical know-how on the production side would help me in my career. Another skill is the ability to empathize with the customer (I’ve started takings some measures by taking up courses on human-centered design).
SIA: What advice do you have for future RISE Scholarship applicants?
AG: Think about what you always wanted to do as a child, how that connects to you as a professional and how you see yourself developing in your career. Use this to fuel the thoughts you wish to put into your application. In other words, nothing is more important than being completely honest with yourself when submitting yourself for the scholarship; the award can be a powerful tool if wielded properly, and I’d encourage you to take your time in the application process.
Learn more about Allegion at allegion.com.
Are you a young security professional under 40? Join SIA’s RISE program. We’re a group of up-and-comers in the security industry trying to help each other grow our careers, expand industry knowledge, further professional development and have some fun together. Get started by filling out the form on the SIA RISE page, or contact SIA staff liaison Bryan Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. While you’re at it, stay in touch with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.